Limited AM broadcasts ahead of cyclone season

Wednesday October 23, 2019 Written by Published in Technology

Normal transmission has resumed to Rarotonga on the old AM frequency – well, almost normal, at least.


AM transmissions were reactivated last week, less than two months after they were turned off for the demolition of the 100-metre Matavera AM radio mast.

The new 630khz broadcast comes from a smaller 36-metre mast at the golf club premises in Nikao, which had previously been a back-up for the Matavera mast.

Bluesky chief operating officer Ngateina Aniterea said government had requested the AM back-up transmitter be reactivated, though there are still “blind spots” on Rarotonga beyond the reach of the smaller mast.

Aniterea said the islands of Aitutaki and Mitiaro were receiving some radio signals, but the rest of the Pa Enua is not able to tune in.

Radio Cook Islands' general manager Jeanne Matenga said the government seemed worried about the absence of a radio signal to some parts of the country as the cyclone season neared.

The Matavera AM mast was demolished because of its rusty and deteriorating condition, posing a danger to the safety of the children and teachers of Takitumu primary school.

The loss of the AM 630khz station, which had broadcast since the 1970s, raised concerns about ways of alerting the Pa Enua during natural disasters such as cyclones. 

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